Review: 4 Socket-A Heavyweight Heatsinks

Cooling
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PRODUCT Thermalright SLK800
Manufacturer Thermalright Inc.
Supplier Thermalright Inc.
Manufacturer's Suggested Price (MSP) US$45 (without fan)
Reasons chosen
  • The most rave-reviewed cooler around these days.
  • All copper design with thin fins and larger than usual air gap between them suggest good low airflow performance.
  • Sturdy- and friendly-looking clip.
  • Great looking finish on all copper design.
  • Excellent fan flexibility.
  • Clever overall design.

Thermalright SLK800

Thermalright SLK800 socket-A heatsink next to one-inch tall elastomeric fan mount.

SLK800 is the current socket-A flagship of the Thermalright line. It has been highly rated by many review sites, especially when mated with high airflow fans.

Specifications

  • L87 x W56.4 x H48 (mm) - Top, without fan
  • L57.5 x W56.4 x H48 (mm) - Bottom
  • L25 x W56.4 - Base
  • Weight: 505g (heat sink only)

Thermalright SLK800 base

As you can see from the photos, the finish of the SLK800 is excellent. The finish of the base is flat and smooth enough for all but the most fastidious. The mounting clip is captive in a tunnel that runs the length of the HS and engages all three lugs on each side of an AMD motherboard socket (or two for socket 370), making it secure and tight. A blade screwdriver (of the correct size) is needed for mounting, which is quickly and easily achieved.

Thermalright SLK800 installed

An interesting aspect of the design is that the base is narrower than the width of either an AMD or socket 370 processor. The design provides a good airflow path all the way down to the top of the CPU, so some direct cooling can be expected. The base of most heatsinks completely covers the CPU, so that the airflow cools only the heatsink. When an 80mm fan is used, it hangs a bit over the sides of the SLK800 so that other motherboard components (such as the chipset) benefit from the airflow.

Four pads much like those on the corners of AMD processors are included in case you fear core chipping (by wobbling the HS on the chip during mounting). They were not used; as already mentioned above, no trouble of any kind was encountered during installation. The small size of the base and the nicely designed clip makes this HS very easy to install.

The base extends up in a pyramidal profile to about 1.5 inches (~3.5 cm) so that it forms a hefty U-shaped channel around the mounting clip. Each of the 34 fins are soldered along the entire contact path with the base so that the heat path between fin and base is quite extensive. Unlike many HS, there is no gap right through the center of the fins where the clip resides.

The fins themselves are very thin. The 505 gram mass without fan exceeds AMD's recommended maximum of 300 grams by a big margin. But with the 6-lug clip design, unless the computer is moved around a lot, there is little to worry about. Shipping with the SLK800 installed is probably unwise, however.

Thermalright SLK800 with fan

The simplicity of the fan mounting system shows some clever thinking. There are several holes into which the one-piece stiff wire clip on either side slip into. The same wire clips does the job with 60, 70, and 80 mm fans of varying thickness -- there are several sets of holes on the sides to accommodate the different sizes and the top of the fins are stepped to fit each size fan nicely.

Socket-A Heatsink Roundup Intro - p.1

Thermalright AX7 - p.3

Zalman CNPS6000Cu - p.4

Swiftech MC462A - p.5

Test Results, Data Analysis and Conclusions - p.6

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